Juniors, U23 and Masters Men Set to Race Saturday at Nationals
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With a predicted high temperature of 40 degrees and a 70 percent chance of precipitation, the Junior 17-18, U23 and Masters men’s racers are looking at a challenging, but perhaps entertaining, day tomorrow in Bend. Last year, although the course froze and thawed repeatedly, the skies stayed clear. Maybe tomorrow’s races will bring a return of true cyclocross conditions, and challenge the old and young racers.
The competition starts at 8:30 am, with the 50-54 Master men’s race. Reigning champ Kevin Hines (Corner Cycle) looks to defend the stars and stripes jersey, but will face some strong competition with previous podium-mates Bobby Langin (Platinum Performance) and Richard Cranmer lining up next to him. Last year Hines escaped an early crash that made a selection just past the start line, so maybe an error-free start will lend him some stiffer competition. Hines comes from a mountain biking background, and owns several stars and bars jerseys in that discipline along with his cyclocross palmares, so we’re tipping him as the favorite.
In the men’s 40-44 race, anything could happen as reigning champion Pete Webber does not have to square off with cyclocross legend (and second place finisher last year) Don Myrah, who dominated in the 45-49 Master Mens race today. Webber won’t have an easy time of it, however, as teammate (and Colorado State Champion) Brandon Dwight has aged up and will be racing in the 40-44 division. Webber looked dominant when we saw him earlier this year at the Fort Collins USGP, recovering from an early mishap to distance racers like Mark Legg-Compton and Ward Baker. Last year Webber got away from Myrah to win comfortably, but Dwight must have different plans as to which Colorado home the jersey will go home to. Other racers are gunning for the upset, and Doug Reid (third last year), ex-pro Bart Bowen and Socal legend Brent Prenzlow all have told Cyclocross Magazine they hope to battle for the win on Saturday.
Moving on to a younger (albeit just as fast) crowd, the 17-18 race, Alex Howard (Above Category Cycling) won the time trial today with a time of 6:23, and hopes to finish in front of runners-up Kolby Preble (Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team) and Ben Bertiger (Major Motion Cycling Club). Lurking, however, is last year’s runner-up, Jeff Bahnson, who gave 2009 National Champion Cody Kaiser a challenge for most of the race. Bahnson’s gotta be the favorite, whatever today’s time trial results might be.
Tune in tomorrow for live coverage of the 40-44 , 17-18 , and the U23 races here at CXM.
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